Intramurals cancelled due to lack of funds

Kris Long, Sports Editor

Intramural basketball, a long-time tradition at Manhattan High, was cancelled this year due to budget cuts in the Manhattan Parks and Recreation department put in place after COVID-19 hit in March. 

The cuts come after a reduction in sales tax revenue — anywhere from $3 million to $8 million, according to city estimates when the cuts were announced — and are the cause of pool closures this summer and the cancellation of all Parks and Rec youth leagues in 2020. City officials assume that both intramurals and other Parks and Rec youth sports will be held again next year.

Though participation in intramurals had been going down in previous years, Daron Lenhart, who has been the sponsor for the past six years, believes they still would have been valuable to students. 

“[The numbers] were going down, but we would have had participation,” Lenhart said. 

Intramurals are a chance for students who aren’t on the basketball team or don’t want to play competitively at the high school level to participate in sports just for the fun of it. The teams are usually groups of five students, boys and girls, although no girls entered the competition last year.

Lenhart said he was disappointed in the cancellation.

“The kids enjoyed it,” he said. “The ones that didn’t make high school teams would make [intramural] teams and still have their teams from year to year, so they enjoyed coming and playing. It’s convenient as well.”

Intramurals saw most of their participation from younger students last year, almost entirely freshmen and sophomores, so there aren’t many seniors missing their last season.

“It’s tough not to have them this year,” said junior Will Robben, who participated last year. “It’s a great way to form new friendships and a nice way to get involved in school. I’m going to miss them this year but I understand the decision.”